A cut-lvd form of S. nigra L., a more arborescent European sp. with jet black frs and typically with only 5 lfls, is reported to be rarely escaped in our range.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
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Common Name: black elderberry Duration: Perennial Nativity: Non-Native Lifeform: Tree Wetland Status: FAC General: Deciduous shrub or small tree, 2-8 m (7-26 ft) tall; trunk up to 0.3 m in diameter, often with several stems from base; branches soft; twigs glaucous. Bark gray or brown, furrowed. Leaves: Opposite, pinnately compound, 13-18 cm long; leaflets 5- 9, lanceolate to lance-ovate or elliptic, 3-13 cm long, 1-6 cm wide, green and glabrous above, paler and glabrous to somewhat hairy beneath, margins sharply toothed, base often asymmetrical, apex acute; stipules linear, falling early or sometimes absent. Flowers: Inflorescence a flat-topped corymb (with 4-5 main rays from base), 5-20 cm wide; corolla 5-lobed, 4-7 mm wide, cream to white. Fruits: Berry, round, 5-6 mm long, dark blue, glaucous, fleshy; seeds 3-5, the surface somewhat wrinkled. Ecology: Found along streams, canyons, open areas in coniferous forests, moist soils from 4,500-9,500 ft (1372-2896 m), flowers June-August. Distribution: Apache, Coconino, Cochise, Santa Cruz, and Yavapai counties; western U.S., Canada, northern Mexico. Notes: Ours, as here described, is ssp. cerulea. Blue elderberry is tolerant of fire and has the ability to sprout from the root crown. It can be successfully propagated from seed and there is some evidence that it maintains a seed bank in the soil. Seed germination may require, or be improved by, scarification or stratification. The fruit is eaten by bears, small mammals, and birds, and the foliage provides good browse in the warmer months of the year for deer and elk. Ethnobotany: Elderberries are often eaten when cooked, as some species are poisonous in raw form. They are used in preserves, wine, or liquor (sambuca). Washes made from the bark have been used to soothe external sores. Berries make black or purple dye and the wood can be used to make musical instruments. Editor: Springer et al. 2011